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Thursday, 2 September 2010

Jack Delano: The Remains (Heard County, Georgia)


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Image, Source: intermediary roll film

This rundown store is all that remains of the once prosperous community of Liberty Hill (sometimes called Housen), Heard County, Georgia: photo by Jack Delano, April 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Mrs. M. Wilson watches her husband plowing on their farm in south part of Heard County, Georgia: photo by Jack Delano, April 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

In a Negro home, Heard County, Georgia: photo by Jack Delano, April 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Mr. Max Killie, beside a photo taken of him during World War I, Heard County, Georgia: photo by Jack Delano, April 1941

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

A dog asleep under an automobile, Franklin, Heard County, Georgia: photo by Jack Delano, April/May 1941

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

A Franklin merchant talking to the sheriff, Franklin, Heard County, Georgia: photo by Jack Delano, April/May 1941

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

In town on a Saturday afternoon, Franklin, Heard County, Georgia: photo by Jack Delano, April/May 1941

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

In town on a Saturday afternoon, Franklin, Heard County, Georgia: photo by Jack Delano, April/May 1941

Image, Source: digital file from intermediary roll film

In town on a Saturday afternoon, Franklin, Heard County, Georgia: photo by Jack Delano, April/May 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Franklin, Heard County, Georgia: photo by Jack Delano, April 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Plowing in northern Heard County, Georgia: photo by Jack Delano, April 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Deserted farmhouse, Franklin, Heard County, Georgia: photo by Jack Delano, May 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Erosion south of Franklin, Heard County, Georgia: photo by Jack Delano, April 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

Erosion in south section of Heard County, Georgia: photo by Jack Delano, April 1941

Image, Source: intermediary roll film

The remains of what used to be a prosperous general store in the once-thriving community of Liberty Hill, Heard County, Georgia: photo by Jack Delano, April 1941

Photos from Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information Collection, Library of Congress

13 comments:

billymills said...

What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

Ed Baker said...

April, 1941 the year that I was born.

and THIS is 10 years or so AFTER The Great Depression!

this foto reminds me of my grandmother's brother's and his wife's grocery store just on out-skirts of B-more!

when I was about 5 I visited the store Jacob Kraemer and Sadie Kreamer

Uncle Jake was ensconced in an huge bed IN THE STORE while his son ran the grocery

notice in tis photo no cash register. No scale.
etc..

no pot-belly stove..

most of my Uncle Jake's customers were Black Folk.

about as ... a fluent
as those in this photo..

then The War came ... and generated PROSPERITY that re-generated The U.S.A and got us into them Terrific 50's!

now look where we are:

Knee Deep In The Big Muddy

oblivious to the "real deal"

TC said...

Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you...

-- But who is that on the other side of you?

What is that sound high in the air?

Ed Baker said...

speaking to that sound
"high in the air" :



far away
hearing

"wooosh".
"wooosh."

(a drawing that I did goes with this ..

an actual event..

I think that it-all was published in about 2001
in the paper version of
South by Southeast


it is also in my

Shrike book which is on my web-site...


(not great art/poetry... however

What is?

curtisroberts said...

Each of series of Delanos is pretty remarkable and memorable, but I think The Remains (Heard County, Georgia) will stay with me longest and, among the images included there,I think I'll never forget the portrait of the woman watching her husband plow in the distance. It sounds trite to say that you feel you're there living life with them, but that's the case. That being said, the photographs of the prisoners attending their warden's funeral is both unexpected and unimaginable.

TC said...

Curtis,

That photo also affected us deeply.

There are dozens of other photos in this file that are similar in content, so many impoverished farms and homesteads into which the Delanos were afforded entry; looking at the pictures now, one is tempted to suspect that the extraordinary experience of these "shoots" may have been even more unsettling for the government visitors from the North than for the stoic (or should one say numbed?) dwellers in the ruins, to whom it appears the staggering hardships have perhaps become so general and common as to seem an inevitable fate.

A poet friend in Georgia whose family goes back nearly two hundred years in those rural areas has written to speak of the devastation experienced in the Depression years by cotton farmers -- his forebears having lost their land, and his grandfather then having bought it back and attempted to reclaim it in the 1950s. Pine trees now grow there, he says, but still "the land is hard-clay, very rocky".

From such testimony one gets some sense of what a struggle it must have been, always, to maintain small farms in such barren country. The dignity and courage of those caught up in the desperate attempt can only be seen as extremely moving.

(By the way Curtis, please forgive the poetry-website meta-spam comment that appears just above yours, routine enough lately I know, but particularly insensitive in light of the serious subject matter of these Depression-era posts -- but I guess that's democracy...)

TC said...

(A postscript for those who may be interested in such things -- ? -- the source of the lines aptly posted by Billy Mills' at the top of this loose thread is a poem whose title might do well as a caption for this post, or perhaps for this country... and as for that sound high up in the air, I think perhaps it's one of those sounds that can only be heard in the dreams of a dog asleep under an automobile in a rural town in the red dirt country of Georgia seventy years ago...)

billymills said...

An oldie:

Glendalough Forest Walk

1. this is a glacial valley
2. a dying oak
3. this pool, a fine example of erosion
4. notice the peculiar growth involved
in adapting to changing circumstances
5. roots are exposed by wear
6. the erotic may, the birch
growing at an unnatural angle
7. holly/rowan/oak
8. the oak-victim of empire and industry
9. the cycle of life and death
10. here you can see the trees grow
if you wait 50 years
11. oregon pines, imported for telegraph poles
12. rock lies under everything
13. the squirrel, Ratatoskr, sower of discord
14. or living in harmony
a plant community
15. these trees are seen as nothing more
than units in the overall economy
16. regeneration
a young oak springs from a dead stump
17. only the oaks grotesqueness
saves it from the axe
18.the end of the trail

TC said...

Billy,

Beautiful.

A rich and embracing earth-historical cross-sectioned itinerary which surely trumps that of Paddy Dillon, who comes up with a relatively commonplace tour:

Glendasan Lead Mines
The Seven Churches
Derrybawn Forest and Green Road
Glendalough Lead Mines
Three Glens Forest Walk
Trooperstown Hill
Paddock Hill
Mullacor and Derrybawn Mountain
The Glendalough Horseshoe
The Glendasan Horseshoe
The Glenmacnass Horseshoe
The Glory of Glendalough

(And indeed your poem summons dim and perhaps imagined pseudoracial memories, Mr. Mills, in one who was convinced at an early age by a maternal grandmother that leprechauns and other dubious little people hung about in such places.) (She had stereopticon slides to prove this contention as fact, by the by.)

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Thanks for these -- from rundown store in Liberty Hill to man plowing family farm to dog asleep under car --

nothing of him that remains
but doth suffer a sea change
into something rich and strange . . . .






9.3

light coming into fog against invisible
ridge, black shapes of leaves on branch
in foreground, sound of wave in channel

tree as light, vertical form
across large tonal area

will picture means of design,
shape, color from light

silver of sunlight reflected in channel,
white of moon in pale blue sky above it

STEPHEN RATCLIFFE said...

Tom,

Food for thought on Labor Day weekend: Mrs. M. Wilson watches her husband plowing on their farm --


9.4

grey whiteness of fog against invisible
ridge, shadowed green of leaves in left
foreground, no sound of wave in channel

“work in middle of day, full
sun without any shadow”

no less than perceptual look,
nothing else, is visual

grey-white of fog reflected in channel,
circular green pine on tip of sandspit

billymills said...

Thanks, Tom.

Elmo St. Rose said...

"I will show you fear in a handfull
of dust"

Tell me was TS Elliott an agent
of social change?